I spend most of my time talking about self-esteem in terms of its impact on American culture, which makes sense, since I’m American and all. In my research for The Snowflake Effect, and my conversations with others since publication, I have found that snowflakes are not exclusively an American problem. Originally this was going to turn into a new essay or two for the book, or a new book all together. That never panned out, probably due to lack of ambition, so a blog post will have to do.
The Little Emperors were the first group of international snowflakes that I was made aware of. These are Chinese sons who have risen to snowflake status because of the restrictions on children in the People’s Republic. Parents feel fortunate to have a son, so many have started to treat them like they are the most special thing in existence. Because of this, these kids eat sweets, play video games, and don’t do anything they don’t want to do. Older generations in China have started calling them the Little Emperors because they conduct themselves as though they are royalty. Perhaps the documentary, predictably called ‘The Little Emperors’ is still available on Netflix. It’s worth a watch.
In Italy, there is a trend of grown men choosing to live at home, regardless of their ability to afford their own housing. I’ve seen it called mammon, but I’m not so sure that’s really the term for it. Feel free to give it a google, where you may not find any information about this, but you can at least learn about the demon of the same name, which is probably a more interesting thing to read about. Either way, these Italian men remain at home so they can continue to be spoiled by their mother – she does their laundry, cooks their meals, and runs off ladies who are no longer welcome.
Parasaito Shinguru, or Parasite Single, is the Japanese term for this, which according to this website, is a really common trend in most of Europe as well. These young people choose to stay at home in order to reduce the stress in their own lives, and spend their income on a ‘high-end lifestyle’ or recreational activities. I mean, that sounds good in principal, but I’d personally rather be an actual adult and work toward the standard of living I want to have, instead of being childish and living at home in order to provide the illusion of tons of expendable income.
The U.K. calls these young adults, which are probably better described as old children, kippers. They aren’t really any different than the mamon or parasaito singuru, they live at home because it’s easier and they feel entitled to a higher standard of living than they can afford.
This is becoming increasingly common in America as well, where educated, employed snowflakes are choosing to stay at home so they can live safely beyond their means. The other, often cited reason for doing so is that it allows young, ambitious people to follow their dreams with very little risk to their basic standard of living. I felt initially irritated by this, but have a hard time bitching about it at length, since they are living at home for a (probably) good reason.
I don’t really agree with young adults staying at home in the first place, especially those that are doing so even when they have the means to be an adult and take care of themselves. Contrary to popular belief, we are not entitled to a high standard of living. Working for the things I have and do makes me appreciate them more. Living somewhere rent-free in the name of a stress-free, high-end lifestyle is a pretty shitty thing to do to your parents. It doesn’t make you progressive, it makes you an asshole.
There is a lot to be said for earning things. We tend to appreciated the things we earn more than things that are given to us. Earning things usually means we have worked, probably failed, and definitely learned something. We snowflakes seem to have forgotten this and have come to expect a lifestyle commensurate with our level of self-esteem, which, in case you haven’t noticed, is usually excessive.